Ireland’s Jack Kyle dies, aged 88

Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Jack Kyle, one of Ireland’s all-time rugby greats, has died aged 88.

The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.

“Jack died peacefully in his sleep at home last night, surrounded by close family members,” his family said in a statement.

Belfast-born Kyle won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the Lions, and guided his national side to their first-ever Five Nations Grand Slam in 1948.

In 2002 Kyle was voted Ireland’s greatest-ever player, underlining his standing alongside the likes of Brian O’Driscoll and Willie John McBride as the country’s most-celebrated rugby stars.

Kyle spent more than 30 years working as a consultant surgeon in Chingola, Zambia, at the end of his playing career.

Following his retirement Kyle returned to Northern Ireland, living in Bryansford near Newcastle, County Down.

Awarded the OBE in 1959, Kyle forged a formidable reputation as a playmaker of both substance and style.

In a poll organised by the Irish Rugby Football Union in 2002, Kyle was voted the country’s best player of all time.

Born in Belfast in 1926, Kyle read medicine at Queen’s University, making his Ireland debut against the British Army in a friendly during the Second World War.

Kyle played in all four matches of Ireland’s 1948 Grand Slam triumph, the achievement heightened by the country’s 61-year wait for a repeat.

When O’Driscoll led Ireland to their 2009 Grand Slam in Cardiff, Kyle was on hand to witness the success.

While also helping Ireland to Five Nations titles in 1949 and 1951, Kyle won his six Test caps for the Lions on the 1950 tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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